Stand In Parents are Here to Provide Support

Viral video creates an outpouring of love.

Jun 1, 2023


Community, Love
Stand In Parents are Here to Provide Support | Viral video creates an outpouring of love.

Having your parents or other loved ones walk you down the aisle at your wedding is the dream of most people. But for some LGBTQ+ youth, due to family dynamics, this is not a possibility. But now, these brides or grooms do not have to go it alone.

A TikToker, Dan Blevins, a father from Tennessee saw a video from a couple who wanted a family member to support them at their wedding, according to People. This really moved him and in January 2021, Blevins offered an invitation on his TikTok to be a stand-in dad for anyone who’s loved ones were not supportive.

“If you are a same-sex couple that's getting married and you do not have biological parents there to support you, please let me know,” Blevins said in the video. “If I'm not able to attend your wedding, I have friends that will.”

The video went viral with thousands of comments and offers from people to stand-in as family for weddings in the LGBTQ+ community. One person commented: “I don't know if I can pass for a mom, but I am HERE to be your auntie, big sis, little sis, or cousin.”

But there were also heartbreaking comments that showed how badly this was needed. “I just want parents. My birth parents turned on me because I'm trans. I think what [Blevins is] doing is great, another person wrote in the comments"

Becoming a community
Blevins believed he had to act to provide acceptance, love, and support to couples on their big day, reported TODAY.

“In 2018, I walked my own daughter down the aisle, and just the thought of someone not having that parent at their wedding or in their life, it was just heartbreaking to me,” Blevins told Al Roker on the TODAY Show.

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After his original  video went viral, Blevins started a Facebook group called TikTok Stand In Families – now known as Stand In Pride International – with his friend Rae Otto. “We both knew it was needed in our community,” Otto told Roker.

Blevins acted to help one couple and actually created a global community of supporters. The Facebook group has now grown to 44,000 members in more than 60 countries. It has made a big difference in the lives of its members, according to People. One of the group’s members Amy Brinsfield, drove four hours to be a mom at a wedding.

The service the group provides is absolutely vital. A 2018 study from the Human Rights Campaign found that 67 percent of LGBTQ+ people have heard negative comments from their families which leaves 78 percent of the participants deciding not to come out to their parents.

Free Moms Hugs
Blevins told TODAY that he was inspired by Sarah Cunningham, the founder of the advocacy group Free Mom Hugs. Cunningham, a conservative Christian mother in Oklahoma originally rejected her son’s sexuality, according to the organization.

But she felt conflicted by her love for her son and her faith community so she researched everything she could find on sexuality and that led her to become an advocate for the LGBTQ+ community.

On June 20, 2015 she wore a homemade button with the words “Free Mom Hugs” on it to the Oklahoma City pride festival. The first hug she gave was to a young woman who whispered to her, “It’s been four years since I got a hug from my mom because I’m a lesbian.” She hugged hundreds more that day.

In 2018, Cunningham posted on her Facebook: “If you need a mom to attend your same-sex wedding because your biological mom won’t, call me. I’m there. I’ll be your biggest fan. I’ll even bring the bubbles.” The response to the post led her to found the organization in 2018 and there are chapters in every US state with more than 14,000 volunteers.

So if you need a hug, a stand in parent for your wedding, or just some support, these organizations have your back.

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Bonnie has dedicated her life to promoting social justice. She loves to write about empowering women, helping children, educational innovations, and advocating for the environment & sustainability.